#1 Posted by LucidDreams117 (409 posts) -

Hey guys! Ever since seeing promos for the Doctor Who Time of The Doctor special and hearing the robotic voice: The Doctor is regenerating! It's stuck in my head!

I'm a pretty good Sci-Fi guy. I think id like this series. But where does one start? Back at the start with the black and white or can I join later? I want to be able to really know the back story and universe. I know the series has had the regenerating thing 11 times in order to bring in a new actor. Is there a break somewhere where I can start?

With any series I've joined late, I like marathoning. I like seeing it all but I also know when say the first few seasons isn't integral.

Anyway, what do you guys think? Is there a box set or something that's a good place to start?

#2 Posted by ryanwhom (290 posts) -

I threw in season 2 with Tennant, then later went back and watched the first season (of the 2005 reboot). I'd just start there. Friend of mine started me on Dont Blink but its not really indicative of the whole series, its maybe one of the best episodes.

#3 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

I'd start with the Chris Eccleston seasons. Anything before that is a little hard to go back to IMO.

#4 Posted by Dixavd (1359 posts) -

Generally, the start of a new doctor is a good time to join in. So next series next year could be a good start if your not itching to start immediately.

If you are though, I would start with Christopher Eccleston in the first series of the new brought-back run from 2005. It's a fabulous fun of episodes that doesn't require any previous knowledge as it is all either told to you or the key parts are heavily implied. Plus, Christopher is one of the best actors to ever even appear on the show and easily has the most awe-inspiring scene in the entire shows run.

Another good point would be the Christmas Special from the same year (i.e. the bridge episode from Season 1 to Season 2) where David Tennant takes over. The only thing to beware with this is the pre-built relationships with Rose, Captain Jack and enemies that are (re-)introduced in the first series of the newest run. However, that information could easily be caught up on through inference.

Still, if you are psyched by the most recent trailers and not previous ones then maybe you like the current show structure of set-piece and big plot moments over singular stories. If that's the case than you might want to jump in on Matt Smith's first episode as the Doctor. This was the episode where Stephen Moffet took over from Russell T. David as the show-runner and pushed forward a new show design similar to blockbuster movies, along with a new focus on long story arcs that intertwine (and intersect and cut each other - it can be a mess sometimes). The first series of the new run with Christopher Eccleston also had a running arc but it in Matt Smith's tenure it was moved from just single-season build-up to a multi-season string.

#5 Posted by LucidDreams117 (409 posts) -

Hmmm. So perhaps I don't know as much as I thought. Seems like there's more to this. I didn't know there was a reboot and more than one continuous series.

So when did Chris Eccleston start? Is he part of the 2005 reboot? Sounds like you guys like him. And I also like the sound of the Matt Smith era. Is he part of the reboot? I may be in over my head here. Haha.

#6 Posted by ryanwhom (290 posts) -

Old Doctor Who and new Doctor Who are listed as separate series on Netflix. So just start the new one, Eccleston is the first season of the reboot.

#7 Posted by LucidDreams117 (409 posts) -

Wait. I got it. Matt is the latest one who just ended. Mmmm hmmm.

#8 Posted by Mike76x (558 posts) -

Hmmm. So perhaps I don't know as much as I thought. Seems like there's more to this. I didn't know there was a reboot and more than one continuous series.

So when did Chris Eccleston start? Is he part of the 2005 reboot? Sounds like you guys like him. And I also like the sound of the Matt Smith era. Is he part of the reboot? I may be in over my head here. Haha.

It's not a reboot, it's a straight continuation from the "classic" series.

The BBC stopped producing episodes in the eighties, there was one (terrible) American made movie in the nineties, then the BBC restarted the series in 2005. Each picked up where he last left off.

#9 Posted by LucidDreams117 (409 posts) -

Hmmm. Okay cool. Making some sense of it here. I'll start with the new Doctor Who. I'm guessing the TV movie isn't too important? Thanks guys. This is a lot more clear. Awesome.

#10 Posted by Chop (1999 posts) -

Starting with the Matt Smith era is also an alright idea (season 5 of the new series). The production values and writing improve substantially, not to mention that it's almost an entirely clean break from the previous four seasons. Doing that would help you avoid the really fucking terrible episodes from the new series.

#11 Edited by Dixavd (1359 posts) -

@luciddreams117: Right that sounds good. A little more background though, the Show's Pilot originally aired in 1963 (the day after JFK's death) and ran into the eighties consisting of 7 on-screen doctors. Then the show was cancelled and went away. Since, there have been multiple new things trying to bring back the series (although it should be noted in the realm of books the series never officially ended and all of the Doctor's did and still do continue to have stories written with them playing the doctor - sometimes they even get them to narrate an audio version). Anyway, in 2005 Russell T. Davis brought back the series and had the pick what was a was not cannon (along with a bunch of other people, but for the sake of argument it was mostly him).

He decided that the original TV run was all cannon, and the 1995 movie were all cannon. In doing so he cut-off a huge chunk of other Doctor who stuff (such as a sixties film) as being non-cannon. In bringing the show back, he knew that if his return was going to stick it would have to modernise which is why he kept the movie intact as the bridge from the more sillier original series and the more 'relationshipy' new one (for instance, the nineties film is the first one where the Doctor kisses a companion voluntarily in a romantic way, and this is now almost a trope of his).

The film isn't actually that bad and was written with the intent of new viewers watching it so it wouldn't do any harm to watch it (although there is a horrendously bad CG affect near the end). I think McGann actually makes for a good Doctor, especially knowing he was meant to represent all the original run's incarnations in one so I do think it's worth viewing (although, maybe don't take it too seriously).

Anyway, when the show did return in 2005 they got Chris to play the part as a harder darker Doctor to bridge the gap in time and sort of represent in persona someone who went into hiding for two decades of Earth-time. Chris accepted but didn't want to be type-cast and doesn't have much affinity for the series and so said he'd only do one run which is why he leaves in the Christmas special. But I think the fact they knew this going in, that first series is written as a very well put-together prototype introduction to where the series was going to go and how it could actually survive in the modern era.

I hope you enjoy it (be prepared, there are some truly horrible episodes in the show, but the highs get higher than any other science-fiction show out there).

#12 Posted by LucidDreams117 (409 posts) -

@dixavd: wow. That's sweet. A lot of good info. That's fantastic. Thanks man. Perhaps ill start with the 90's movie and not take it too seriously like you suggest. I'm okay with some bad episodes. I'm looking forward to it. Haven't really gotten into a scifi series like this since the last Star Trek.

Thanks guys! Merry Christmas!

#13 Posted by geirr (2637 posts) -

I'll get to newer Dr Who's when Rifftrax does.

#14 Edited by I_Stay_Puft (3571 posts) -

I started watching Doctor Who with Matt Smith's run (not counting the few episodes I saw as a kid of Baker's Dr. Who on PBS ). I think with Smith's run it starts off with a fresh slate and doesn't really concern itself with the previous storylines and history of Doctor Who. After I started getting more into the series I went back and re-watched from Eccleston's run into Tennants and then eventually started watching some of the serials from the old school stuff. Most of that stuff is up on netflix if you have any inquiry. My recommendation though would be to start with Eccleston.

#15 Posted by crusader8463 (14423 posts) -

@luciddreams117: Oh god I wish you never made this thread. I too am a pretty huge sci fi guy and this series has always been one blank spot on my list of series I have never watched. Now that I know where to start I'm probably going to have to now. I just HATE with a fiery passion whenever I'm watching a show and I don't understand a reference to something in the past and it completely takes me out of the show. So given how much back story there is to the series I just always ignored it knowing I would never want to sit through all the shows from the start to have an idea of what was going on and that given how old some of the first series runs are I doubt I could stand it long enough to get to the modern stuff.

#16 Posted by Akyho (1677 posts) -

@luciddreams117: Oh god I wish you never made this thread. I too am a pretty huge sci fi guy and this series has always been one blank spot on my list of series I have never watched. Now that I know where to start I'm probably going to have to now. I just HATE with a fiery passion whenever I'm watching a show and I don't understand a reference to something in the past and it completely takes me out of the show. So given how much back story there is to the series I just always ignored it knowing I would never want to sit through all the shows from the start to have an idea of what was going on and that given how old some of the first series runs are I doubt I could stand it long enough to get to the modern stuff.

As for back story the serise knows not everyone understands it all. So they either explain it or wasnt important in the first place.

Such as the Doctor has been visiting earth for 50 years now. So there are characters names or even camoes that pop in. You will be briefed on them usually. However as a longer term fan it does give a kick to get the references.

Otherwise as for enemies and nemesi they shall be explained at length, many being completely new to the current run. So there is not lose in missing the older ones, as I admit they are a dedication to watch. Not just in length but the quality too.

1999 movie or 2005 restart are both fine. Some people saying jump to Tennent which is second serise is...just ...madness so much important stuff happened with Eccleston. To those who say "Ah just go with Matt Smith" are even crazier! soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much has happened and to just jump to Matt smith? thats just Bonkers!


#17 Edited by Capum15 (4930 posts) -

I started at the 2005 reboot and have loved all of it. Didn't seem like I was missing out on all that much from the old ones; a few references that I knew of due to reading the wiki once in a while.

I haven't seen the newest season since I've been watching it all on Netflix, but I've seen everything else since the 2005 start twice now.

#18 Edited by crithon (3322 posts) -

I've been having a HARD TIME getting into it myself. But I felt the first time Chris Eccleston meets a Dalek that's where EVERYTHING CLICKED. And that's where just everything right down the design of Dalek and what new innovations they could add with current effects could work well. But yeah it's difficult to get into, I'm way too reminded of the 80s era and just found it impossible to get into even when I was 8 and was into Dune.

#19 Edited by I_Stay_Puft (3571 posts) -

@akyho said:

@crusader8463 said:

@luciddreams117: Oh god I wish you never made this thread. I too am a pretty huge sci fi guy and this series has always been one blank spot on my list of series I have never watched. Now that I know where to start I'm probably going to have to now. I just HATE with a fiery passion whenever I'm watching a show and I don't understand a reference to something in the past and it completely takes me out of the show. So given how much back story there is to the series I just always ignored it knowing I would never want to sit through all the shows from the start to have an idea of what was going on and that given how old some of the first series runs are I doubt I could stand it long enough to get to the modern stuff.

As for back story the serise knows not everyone understands it all. So they either explain it or wasnt important in the first place.

Such as the Doctor has been visiting earth for 50 years now. So there are characters names or even camoes that pop in. You will be briefed on them usually. However as a longer term fan it does give a kick to get the references.

Otherwise as for enemies and nemesi they shall be explained at length, many being completely new to the current run. So there is not lose in missing the older ones, as I admit they are a dedication to watch. Not just in length but the quality too.

1999 movie or 2005 restart are both fine. Some people saying jump to Tennent which is second serise is...just ...madness so much important stuff happened with Eccleston. To those who say "Ah just go with Matt Smith" are even crazier! soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much has happened and to just jump to Matt smith? thats just Bonkers!

i think for those who skip to Matt Smith just need to know the backstory between River Song and the Doctor, everything else is pretty much straight forward. They do a lot of exposition in the series when new companion and allies show up so they explain stuff that casual fans might of missed.

#20 Edited by MC_Hify (341 posts) -

I wish John Barrowman had been in an episode during Matt Smith's run. After Amy he's my favorite companion. I think he and Matt would have worked well together.

#21 Posted by Eladren (110 posts) -

Matt Smith is my doctor, but you should start with Chris Eccleston (first season of the 2005 reboot) and stick with it, i love it all, but even if you dont, give it a chance at least until you watch "the empty child" / "The Doctor dances".

I would advice, however, not to look at it purely as a sci fi show but also as a fairy tale, to me Doctor Who conveys the same emotions that a miyazaki movie does, only with aliens and spaceships and science so adavance that seems magical.

PD: I envy you, to watch all of that for the first time is... Fantastic.

#22 Posted by chiablo (951 posts) -

For the David Tennant series, the episodes are extremely hit or miss. It's sad that David Tennant is a brilliant actor and is the best Doctor since Tom Baker and has to be in some of the worst Dr. Who episodes ever written.

My top 5 episodes with David Tennant:

  • Season 2, Episode 4: The Girl in the Firepalce
  • Season 3, Episode 3: Gridlock
  • Season 3, Episode 8+9: Human Nature/The Family of Blood
  • Season 3, Episode 10: Blink
  • Season 4, Episode 8+9: Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead
  • Season 4, Episode 10: Midnight

How bad can it get?

http://blip.tv/radio-dead-air/not-doctor-who-classic-love-and-monsters-4709399

#23 Posted by Wrighteous86 (3819 posts) -

2005 series. That's where I started and it all made perfect sense. It's a continuation of the old series, but it's a pretty clean break where they don't expect you to know anything from the past.

#24 Posted by Veektarius (4921 posts) -

Most people I know who like that series are more interested in knowing where they should start for Doctor Who to get into them.

#25 Posted by takayamasama (442 posts) -

I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend starting at NuWho Season 1, with Eccleston. Some of them are a bit hard to watch, due to production values and whatsnot, but Doctor Who is a story about an adventure through the life of the Doctor, and there are things referenced that refer back to the start of the launch even to this day. (as well as classic who, but that is a different thing to look into if the relaunch grabs you)

If you are someone who really gets into the lore and universe of the stories you partake in, you will be robbing yourself if you don't just start at the beginning and go from there. The first season has good episodes, and even though he only was in one season, the 9th Doctor was another fun adventure! Sure you will find a few episodes that are realllllllllllly bad (3 of them in season 2), but the great episodes are so full of feels, you will love it.

#26 Edited by TheManWithNoPlan (5801 posts) -

Eccleston is where I started.